So, my boss gave me the day off on Monday and I was sitting on the couch reading We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver when I heard the telltale thunk of a package being left on the front steps. The package turned out to be my pre-order of Headbangers in Ecstasy, the debut full-length from Puro Instinct. Though the album was officially released on February 22nd, the pre-orders were held up a little bit, but it was totally worth the wait. For what it’s worth, I think Mexican Summer puts together some of the best pre-order packages out there. Mine came with a limited edition press of the LP on gorgeous pink vinyl and a silk-screened sleeve, plus a CD version of the album, a t-shirt, a nicely printed zine with photos and song lyrics, a poster, and a copy of the Stilyagi 7” (which I’ll be giving away here – just scroll down.)
I’ll be honest — I’m glad that my Puro Instinct album came with such lush packaging, because the album itself can fall a little flat at times. I’ll be the first to admit that I love Puro and that I think they have some beautifully crafted songs, but I do think that the album has the tendency to wear a little thin after the first few listens — maybe they’re a band that’s better suited (for now, at least) to 7”s or EPs. I remember first hearing their Something About the Chaparrals EP and being stunned by how lovely it sounded and, though their album has the same lovely sound, it just isn’t as striking to hear 10 similar sounding songs intercut with faux radio announcer vignettes.
The songs on Headbangers in Ecstasy really shine when they’re heard in isolation. “Lost at Sea,” “California Shakedown,” and “Luv Goon” are breathy and weightless, almost like they’re ready to float away. Together, Piper and Skylar create a delirious poolside sound that’s likely to polarize. You’ll either think it’s trite and boring or refreshing and dreamy. Though the album does sound a bit thin to me at times, I still err on the side of refreshing and dreamy when it comes to Puro, and I think that when summer comes around, this will be the perfect album for evening and nighttime outdoor listening.
Their are some beautiful, strong songs on Headbangers in Ecstasy and if you missed out on (or chose not to get) some of their earlier releases, this is a much better bargain than shelling out $20 for a secondhand copy of the Slivers of You 7”. Though Mexican Summer is sold out of the LP, you can still get the album on CD and MP3 direct from them (order here.) If you know you want the LP, InSound still has it in stock (along with some other Puro Instinct/Pearl Harbor releases) and you can order it here.
To go along with this, I have a copy of Puro Instinct’s Stilyagi 7”. The 7” is pressed on gold vinyl, is sold out on Mexican Summer, and features the non-album track “Put Medved to Bedved”. This 7” does not come with a digital download code, so it won’t be much use to you if you don’t have a record player. If you’d like me to send it to you, please leave a comment with your name and e-mail address (I need your e-mail address so that I can get in touch with you if you win!) I’ll keep comments open until 5pm EST on Friday. As usual, if you post about this elsewhere (Twitter, Tumblr, etc.), I’ll give you an extra number in the drawing (just be sure to leave a link in your comment showing me where you’ve posted.)